File this under the “well, yeah” category, but the Los Angeles Lakers are going to be interested in luring Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant when he hits free agency this summer. As should be expected, they won’t be nearly alone in that effort.
Durant himself told Haynes he doesn’t want to talk about it:
“I just want people to focus on basketball,” Durant told Yahoo Sports after posting 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists. “Focus on what goes on the court. I know it’s hard to keep up with it. I know it’s easy to look at that type of [expletive] because it’s the entertainment side. But wait until the season is over with to analyze [free agency]. I know it’s your job and it’s hard to say that, but try to shift some of your focus to the court, too. I know you have to still do your job and check on stuff like that, but every day? Every city I go to? Come on, man. I said what I had to say at media day. I understand your job, but let’s come to a little agreement. Don’t ask me every time you see me. If it’s the first time I’m seeing y’all, I don’t mind answering. But every time? Come on, bro.”
As with everything else in this situation, Durant not wanting to talk about his impending free agency is to be expected. It would be highly disrespectful to the teammates that helped him land a couple championships if he allowed for any speculation while still on the team.
It’s also worth noting that he took a similar approach and didn’t want to talk before the last free agency decision he made: his eventual departure from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“But that’s just a part of it, that’s a part of this process. I understand that. Everybody has to do their jobs,” Durant continued. “Of course the fans want to know what’s going on but I can’t control any of that. I just try to come out and work hard every single day and focus on what’s in front of me and not worry about what’s going to happen down the line. All that stuff I can’t control. Like I said, when that time comes we’ll talk about it, but for right now I’m 100 percent locked in and committed to being the best teammate and player I can be and helping my team get a championship.”
Analyzing Durant’s eventual decision is a fool’s errand this far out in advance for a variety of reasons, but most notably because he obviously won’t be leaving Golden State for a better basketball situation. This means that comparing destinations is a fruitless endeavor based on how those situations might look right now.
Yes, the Lakers have LeBron James. Yes, the New York Knicks are almost objectively the most inept organization in American professional sport. Yes, the Clippers remain the Clippers. You could compare all those situations all you want, but the fact remains: Durant isn’t going to be looking at this decision in that way.
Get ready for a full year of this stuff, too, as Durant’s decision could shape the entire NBA for quite some time. As much as he won’t want to answer these questions as they’re repeated to him, this is just how these things go.
All involved parties will have to move forward in much of the way Durant is handling things. The Lakers, Knicks, Clippers and any other team that will be interested in Durant next summer have to focus on their seasons ahead, as Durant says he will be.
Also, it’s fitting in 2018 that the NBA season has been underway for all of 24 hours, so of course everyone’s focus is already on next summer.